By Debbie Bolla
Who needs a mental health check? According to recent research, most of us do. Findings from Paychex’s 2021 State of Mental Health in the Workplace Report show that 43% of employees say their mental health is worse now than it was before COVID-19. Diving deeper into the data, employees have experienced the following ailments:
- increased anxiety (31%);
- decreased enthusiasm (24%);
- decreased motivation (22%);
- reduced focus (21%);
- increased depression (20%); and
- decreased teamwork (16%).
Poor mental health can have an impact the bottom line. Stress and strain caused by the pandemic can drive down employee focus, productivity, engagement, and overall well-being. In fact, Paychex’s research shows that one in five business owners believe employee mental health could affect their overall competitiveness.
“Months of distance learning, social isolation, and heightened health concerns have led people of all ages to experience increased stress, anxiety, and depression,” says Alison Stevens, director of HR Services at Paychex. “While some employers may be reticent to acknowledge there is a problem, the threat to employees’ mental health is also a threat to the success of the business. HR leaders must pivot to address this and ensure they are offering employees the flexibility, benefits, and support they need to maximize productivity and recruit top talent.”
Many of today’s leading organizations are recognizing this need, stepping in and supporting employees in new ways. According to the 2021 State of Mental Health in the Workplace Report, the top employee-favored benefits include:
- flexible schedules;
- a system for tracking employee progress and goals;
- health maintenance programs; and
- programs that offer referrals for behavioral health or substance use disorders.
Some of the newer benefits making their way onto HR’s agenda include being able to work remotely; having weekly employee and manager check-ins; and receiving support for work issues like adjusting to new responsibilities.
If you are looking to increase your mental health offerings, we have even more advice in Embracing Wellness. The organizations that make the investment will reap the rewards: Paychex finds that companies with mental health benefits are five times more likely to have improved retention rates since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
There’s no better time than Mental Health Awareness Month for a mental health check.